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KarmaDeva - Interview

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 23 / 7 / 2007

KarmaDeva - Interview


Bath-based post punk group KarmaDeva released its debut EP, 'Dreamless Sleep', as a download only release earlier this year. Anthony Strutt chats to acoustic guitarist JJ Staness and bass player Pete Staness about it at a special gig in Crawley to celeberate the Cure's 30th anniversary

KarmaDeva are a Bath-based post punk group centered around singer and acoustic guitarist JJ Staness and bass player Pete Staness. The band has been through various line-ups, but since the beginning of 2006 has also featured Dave Rogers on electric guitar and Gavin Loynes on drums KarmaDeva released its debut EP, 'Dreamless Sleep', on download only earlier this year. The group are Cure fans, and played the annual Cure Drink earlier this year and also a show in the Cure's native Crawley to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Pennyblackmusic spoke to JJ and Pete at the Crawley show about KarmaDeva and 'Dreamless Sleep' PB : I got introduced to you guys via Curedrink, and here we are in Crawley at another Cure related event. How did that come about? Did you contact them or did they contact you ? PS : It was a bit of both really. It was the promoter who was helping the Curedrink people who organised it. PB : Is that Flag Promotions ? PS : It was Frankie at Flag Promotions(Goth related promotions company) and we wanted to do some more gigs for him because we had done some already for him in London. PB : Why the name ? JJ : (Laughs) Well.... PB : Are you a bit of a diva then ? JJ : (Laughs) I'm a bit of a diva. That is true, but I was skimming through a book one day. It was written in English but it was like it was written in Sanskrit and I came across the name Karmadeva and I looked at the glossary at the back and it said "A God/ A celestial being, who has became a deva through the right actions i.e. Karma". And I just liked the sound of it. I just thought it would be a really good name for a pop band. PB : Does all the band hail from Bath ? JJ : No, I am actually Welsh. Pete's from Sunderland and the other two are from just outside Bath. but we all live there now. PB : How did the band get together ? JJ : I was doing acoustic stuff, folk really, songwriter stuff, and I met Pete by chance. He was at a friend's house and he heard me rehearse, and I heard him play bass the next day, and I thought "He's good" (Laughs) and I said to him "Do you want to join my band ?" as I didn't have one at the time and he said "Yes" and he moved down from Sunderland and we started to write and rehearse. PS : I heard her play her songs on the acoustic and I thought it just sounded pure and simple and I absolutely loved it. It was like hearing Kurt Cobain or something. The songs were so simple. I just said yes straight away. PB : You released 'Dreamless Sleep' on iTunes ? JJ : Yes. PB : Compared to the old days of CD and vinyl what does that mean ? Is i-tunes basically a label ? JJ : We were lucky because you must be signed to release stuff on iTunes, and we found this company in America that will submit your music for a really small fee, which is like £6. We checked it out and it is a proper company. It is an offshoot of a big company whom just want to help bands, so it is a joy to get our music out into the whole world but advertising it is harder. The company is called Tunecore, and one of the things we liked about it was that it was endorsed by Frank Black and he was raving about it. PB : So do you just submit tracks like you do on MySpace ? Do you just send them a MP3 ? JJ : You send them a physical copy as well, as well as the artwork. Basically every track is known as an album so you can download as much as you want. Customers pay about 79p a track of which we get about 49p per track. PB : That's probably better then a record royalty. JJ : And you haven't got the outgoings of a vinyl release and you own everything and the copyright is yours. PB : How long have you been going then ? JJ : It has been about four or five years. We have had lots of different line ups. Pete and I have been here all the time. This line up has been about a year and a half. PB : So you must have an album's worth of material then ? PS : Yes, we have. JJ : We are waiting. We would like to get backing, so we can do a good job on it. We have probably got two albums worth of stuff. PB : How would you describe what you do in a contemporary way ? JJ : I was brought up on Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Leonard Cohen so put them all together in a mix and that's what you get. Pb : Is it full time ? PS : For me and JJ it is. PB : What are your future plans ? PS : A lot of people are saying go over to the States so it is just a case of getting there. PB : Thanks for your time.

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KarmaDeva - Interview

KarmaDeva - Interview

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Dreamless Sleep (2007)
Eerie, but enjoyable post punk on new download EP from Bath-based post punks, Karma Deva

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